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Legends of Narada Home -› Lesser Gods -› Narada -› Legends of Narada
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Narada - the wandering seer
Ambarisha led Srimati to the dais of the Swayamvara. Srimati blushingly stood before the rishis with garland in her hand. But she was taken aback when she lifted her head and saw both Narada and Parvata. Her hand trembled. She said: "Father, I can see no rishi here. Instead I find two men, one with the face of a bear and the other with a monkey's face. But in between these two I find a handsome man with an attractive well dressed in jewel-studded clothes, and he is smiling. He has stretched his right hand as if to beckon me." Both Narada and Parvata were astonished. Narada said: "O king, is this one of your tricky schemes to deceive us?" Then it struck Srimati that the two angry sages would curse her father if she did not act quickly. So she declared that she would throw the garland in the direction of the sages and that she would marry the one who caught the garland thrown by her. She flung the garland at them. The garland fell on the handsome man sifting between the two sages. All at once Srimati and the handsome man disappeared. That handsome man was none other than Lord Vishnu.

It was then that wisdom dawned on both the sages. They realized that they had been taught a lesson for their conceit. They felt ashamed that they should have thought of marriage. They took an oath that they would remain bachelors for life.

Narada - the KAPIVAKTRA or monkey-faced:
Narada is also named as KAPIVAKTRA or monkey-faced. This episode makes an interesting study of how God curb: the AHANKAR (pride) of even the best of seers. The legend goes thus:

Sage narada in penance
Kamadeva trying to break the penance
Once Narada practiced severe austerities in the Himalayas. Indra, king of the Devas, became suspicious of Narada and decided to tempt him with worldly pleasures to break his penance. With this in mind, Indra sent for Kamadeva (the god of love) and asked him to break Narada's penance. Kama came to the cold, barren spot where Narada was sitting, deep in meditation. As he shot the first arrow the scene suddenly changed into one of beautiful valley and a beautiful damsel appeared before Narada. She began to dance before him. But Narada's eyes where closed to her charms. She pleaded, "O sage, open your eyes and behold your slave." But Narada hardly heard her. Realizing, that she would never succeed in distracting the sage, the damsel left for her heavenly abode.

Kamadeva had to acknowledge his defeat. Narada then opened his eyes and asked, "O Kama, who sent you here?" "Lord Indra", replied Kamdeva. "Go and tell Indra that Narada has conquered all desires, that he is above temptation," said Narada. Narada gloated over his achievement and thought, "I have defeated Kama. Lord Shiva is no longer the only conqueror of this invincible god. I must go and tell Shiva about it. He must accept me as his equal." So thinking he left to Kailasa the abode of Shiva. On arriving in Kailasa he paid his salutations to Lord Shiva and said, "I have conquered Kamadeva. Indra sent him to tempt me. But Kamadeva failed." Shiva replied, "I am glad to know that. But keep the matter to yourself. In any case never brag about it to Lord Vishnu."

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